The 2 Best Lenses for Animal Photography

The lenses you choose for animal photography are important for professional-looking results. Having more than one lens option will enable you to take different types of shots while capturing movement and details of the animal.

The two best lenses to have for animal photography are a telephoto and a wide angle lens. There are numerous manufacturer offerings for each type of lens with various price points, from a few hundred dollars up to $5000.

Telephoto Lens

Telephoto lenses have narrow view angles that make distant objects appear closer. They can be used with extenders or multipliers to increase magnification while decreasing the minimum focusing distance.

Using a telephoto lens for animal photography allows the photographer to get close to their subjects without being physically near. This is very effective when shooting pictures of birds or any camera-shy animals.

Photos from using a telephoto lens have a portrait quality to them; almost looking like the animal you photograph is posing for you. They can also capture action shots if you move with the subject through your viewfinder and use a continuous shot setting.

It is recommended to choose a telephoto lens with a focal length from 300mm to 60mm. Shorter focal lengths will not allow you to get too close to your subjects; however, they can be used for taking photos of animals in captivity at zoos or nature preserves.

Make note that some telephoto lenses can be heavy and may cause shutter release vibrations while shooting. If you use a tripod, you will have steadier shots; however, action is better captured without a tripod. Prior to taking photos, practice using your camera with the lens attached to get used to the weight and any vibration.

Wide Angle Lens

Using a wide angle lens gives photographers a broader view angle while increasing depth of field. They expand the distance between the foreground and background to bring more area into focus.

This allows you to break a shot too wide, too close or too high to capture action and vary your shots. You can take shots that are exaggerated in scope while still keeping your subject in focus. You can also get down to their eye level for shots that reflect their range of vision.

Wide angle lenses are typically more compact and lightweight than telephoto lenses, so using a tripod is not as necessary. By taking hand-held shots, you can move with your subject more easily and capture more motion.

Make sure to watch for lens flare when using a wide angle lens. During to its broader scope of vision, the lens has a tendency to pick up reflections of light from the sun or other sources of light. To prevent this from happening, compose your shots carefully and use a lens hood. This will also help create a sharper image through the elimination of light reflections.

Popular Lenses: